IIDCYA honors “architect of dreams” Ahmad Jafari

July 15, 2019 - 18:36

TEHRAN – Iran’s Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) honored the U.S.-based Iranian architect Ahmad Jafari who is called the “architect of dreams” due to his designs for theme parks in the world.

A book titled “The Architect of Dreams”, which recounts the story of Jafari’s collaborations with Walt Disney Imagineering in designs of several parks and resorts as well as his design for the Hezaro Yek Shahr theme park in Tehran, was unveiled during the ceremony on Sunday. 

Speaking at the ceremony, architect Seyyed Mohammad Beheshti said, “Stories are very important in architecture and architects want their works to carry stories within them.”

“Mr. Jafari is the only architect whose works have their own stories. His duty is to tell stories and I have not seen an architect like him among the Iranian architects,” he added.

“The storytelling in his works is unique and is accompanied by playfulness, naughtiness and elegance. His storytelling involves all people especially children and young adults. Fantasy dominates in most of his works,” Beheshti noted.

He expressed his happiness that Iran enjoys such a great architect and said, “His precious design for the Hezaro Yek Shahr theme park in his homeland needs to be praised. I hope the obstacles will be removed and the project commences.”

IIDCYA director Fazel Nazari also spoke at the ceremony and said, “It is pleasant to see an Iranian is praised for what he has created in foreign countries, but what is more pleasant is that the creator of these beauties has returned to make these beauties at home as well.”

Jafari has returned home 50 years after living abroad to share his experiences with Iranian youth.

“The people who think about the future are the ones that care about children and young adults. The future is not made with oil and gas, but children and young adults are our main asset. Mr. Jafari pays due attention to this asset and he tries our dreams come true,” he added.

For his part, Jafari also made a short speech at the ceremony.

“I talk with my hands but I cannot talk much with my tongue. My only wish is wherever the Iranian children are living, they keep the lights of their dreams bright and do not let their wishes fade away,” he said.

“The institute can help me take this book to the children living in every corner of the country. My last wish is to carry out and accomplish the project of Hezaro Yek Shahr, which has made the young architects of my country get together on one project,” he concluded.

A collection of Jafari’s designs were also showcased in an exhibition at the IIDCAY gallery. 

Born in 1938 in Arak, Jafari graduated from University of Tehran with M.A. in architecture in 1962. In 1963, he moved to the United States and studied architecture at the University of Utah.

He then joined the Disneyland engineering department as an architect in 1966. He served as an architect and art director at the Walt Disney Company from 1966 to 2004.

“All of us still see your ‘design’ fingerprints scattered in the parks throughout the world… your creativity has helped define the environment that Disney built. It is indeed a very small club of people who can claim to have had such involvement and influence,” Disney official Val Usle once said about Jafari.

Photo: Architect Ahmad Jafari (R) received an award for lifetime achievements from IIDCYA director Fazel Nazari in Tehran on July 14, 2019. (Fars/Hamid Tavakkoli) 


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